Long Term Recovery

Recovery is the period of time after a disaster when faith-based organizations and other groups help individuals, families and communities to develop, and put into action, plans for extended recovery. Recovery from each disaster is unique and the long term recovery - going beyond the initial relief and cleanup to actual rebuilding of homes and lives, may last weeks or years.

Local churches can lead the way in long term recovery by participating in Case Management and Rebuilding.

Case Management
Case management provides individuals and families with the formal assistance they need to gain health and human services to which they are entitled. When disaster strikes, church and lay leaders - who know the skill sets of their congregation, are able to mobilize parishioners who can provide the specific assistance survivors need related to the various aspects of case management. As such, case management is a great opportunity for local churches to give tangible hope and help to their parishioners, neighbors and community during times of disaster.

Several faith-based organizations are well established in case management including The Salvation Army and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

According to UMCOR:

The case manager evaluates the client’s needs, reviews what relief the client has already received, and determines whether the client has registered for FEMA assistance. The UMCOR case manager then provides information about what’s needed to proceed further. The final stage puts the client on the path to returning to a normal life by referring him or her to the appropriate assistance services, acting as an advocate for the client’s interests if necessary, and finally offering direct assistance with bills if the client requires it. Ultimately, the client family and the case worker jointly decide when the process is complete and the family can operate independently of aid once again.

- United Methodist Committee on Relief, “National Case Management Questions & Answers,” October 2005,
http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/newsroom/releases/archives05/ ?search=case%20 management&C=1470&I=1996

Case management typically involves four functional areas: (1) Provide Information; (2) Referral Services; (3) Form and Application Assistance; and (4) Financial Relief. For a description of these functions, see pages 85-88 in the report entitled, Heralding Unheard Voices: The Role of Faith-Based and Non-Governmental Organizations During Disaster (PDF).

For additional information about Case Management, visit the following sites:

After a damaged home or church is mudded out, work teams gut the structure and perform other physical reconstruction services including roof repairs, rewiring, sheetrock, painting, installing new fixtures, and more. In major disasters, local churches will respond from around the country sending construction teams to affected areas to work alongside local and national faith-based and non-governmental organizations. Some faith-based organizations like Church World Service specialize in home repair. Other groups like Samaritan’s Purse install roof tarps to mitigate any further damage until a roof can be repaired or replaced.

Collectively, local churches and faith-based organizations make a significant contribution to rebuilding homes and lives impacted by disaster.

Frequently Asked Question: What is a Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC)?

Many times local churches play a significant role in the formation and function of Long Term Recovery Committees. In general, an LTRC includes representatives from disaster response and recovery agencies, like United Methodist Committee on Relief, who individually address survivor needs as “cases.”

Specific cases are presented in LTRC meetings when the needs of the case are beyond the capability of the particular agency. For example, in one county in Mississippi, a LTRC was discussing 600 unmet requests for roof repairs when one member conveyed they had construction teams but no materials. A local pastor was attending the LTRC for the first time. After hearing the need and availability of work teams, he said a man in his congregation was willing to donate building materials to put on two new roofs per day for an extended period of time; but, he said, they did not have any work teams.

The LTRC provides a platform for local churches and disaster response and recovery agencies to connect, communicate, collaborate, and cooperate to meet the needs of individuals, families and communities.

For more information about Long Term Recovery Committees, see the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) Long Term Recovery Manual: http://www.nvoad.org/Portals/0/LTRManualFinalApr232004a.doc.

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